Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Spotify and Volvo Partner Up for a Voice-Activated, In-Car Music System”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Spotify and Volvo Partner Up for a Voice-Activated, In-Car Music System”

Spotify and Volvo Partner Up for a Voice-Activated, In-Car Music System

Posted: 06 Mar 2013 03:45 AM PST


Volvo has teamed up with Spotify to launch a voice-activated, in-car music system for its cars

The system, called the Sensus Connected Touch, will allow drivers to stream music (via a 3G/4G dongle or a mobile phone connection) through their dashboard. The system will be either touch- or voice-activated, with the drivers being able to start music simply by saying the name of a song

Volvo promises to regularly upgrade the Android-based system. Other apps available through Sensus Connected Touch are Google Maps, iGO-powered GPS navigation and TuneIn

Sensus Connected Touch (together with Spotify) will be available as a dealer-fitted accessory, from May 2013. It will be available in all the new Volvo cars — V40, V40 Cross Country, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80. Owners of some older models (from year 2011 onwards) will be able to retrofit it into their car as well

U.S. Takes Top Spot in Spam Distribution

Posted: 06 Mar 2013 02:30 AM PST


Educators have expressed concern about Americans falling behind in tech fields, but there is at least one area in which the United States is still firmly on top.

According to statistics from SophosLabs, the United States distributes more spam than any other country in the world, clocking in at a "respectable"18.3 percent of junk email sent.

The study tracked the amount of spam sent between December 2012 and February 2013. While the U.S. distributes the lion’s share of the world’s spam, other countries are by no means innocent of clogging inboxes worldwide.

China took the second spot and India the third, with 8.2% and 4.2% of the world’s spam, respectively. Other high-ranking countries included Peru, France, South Korea and Italy.

Google Play Marks Anniversary By Giving You Discounts

Posted: 06 Mar 2013 01:11 AM PST


One year after rebranding itself and ditching the "Android Market" label, Google Play is celebrating the occasion by offering deals to Android users

The online app store just launched a week-long promotion called "Our gifts to you" on its website, along with the following blurb:

It was just a year ago today that we launched this amazing shop on the interwebs to offer the best in digital content. Since the best parties are the ones that send you home with a present, today we celebrate our birthday with a festive goodie bag full of gifts. Don’t delay in picking up these limited-time offers. Continue the celebration all week with even more special deals on movies, books and magazines along with exclusive gaming gifts. It’s been an incredible first year and we look forward to sharing the gift of digital diversions for many more to come.

Carrie Fisher to Return as Princess Leia in Next 'Star Wars' Movie

Posted: 06 Mar 2013 12:04 AM PST


Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, will reprise her role in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, she confirmed to Palm Beach Illustrated

Asked point blank whether she'll be in the next Star Wars film, Fisher answered with a simple "Yes"

She goes on to explain how she sees the Princess Leia of today. "Elderly. She’s in an intergalactic old folks’ home [laughs]. I just think she would be just like she was before, only slower and less inclined to be up for the big battle," Fisher said

Star Wars: Episode VII, which is coming out in 2015, will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed the latest Star Trek movies. Harrison Ford is also rumored to appear in the new film, reprising his role as Han Solo

Stunning Instagram Shots Document Cyclist's Round-the-World Trip

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 11:57 PM PST


Rob Lutter is living a life most of us will only dream of

In 2011, the Englishman ditched his job in the film industry to embark on a round-the-world bicycle trip by himself. He's since logged more than 9,000 miles, crossed 21 borders and raised more than $2,000 through the non-profit global aid site, charity:water.

He's crossed deserts, climbed mountains and seen how people live in some of the most far-flung corners of the globe. But along the way, he's also made a more high-tech discovery: Instagram

Android 4 Usage Finally Eclipses Gingerbread

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 11:07 PM PST


The latest versions of Android, 4.0 and up, have surpassed Gingerbread as the dominant operating system for the first time.

According to the Android Developer' Dashboards section, 45.1% of users are running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and Jelly Bean (4.1 and 4.2) on their smartphones — just squeezing past the 44.2% that Gingerbread (2.3) boasts

As for Android's less popular versions, Honeycomb (3.1 and 3.2) clocks in at 1.2%, while Eclair (2.1) and Froyo (2.2) have 1.9% and 7.6%, respectively. Donut (1.6), the OS' earliest version, still maintains 0.2% distribution.

Agency Hires Interns Based on Brand Ideas for Twinkies

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 10:00 PM PST


Minneapolis-based ad agency Campbell Mithun will hire its "Lucky 13" summer interns by asking for their ideas on how to best re-engage the Twinkies brand with consumers

The agency, which created the brand's "Where’s the cream filling?" ads, asks applications as the brand is going to auction on March 13 due to bankruptcy.

The online internship application process opened at the beginning of this month, and the deadline is March 29. Interns will be hired in three discipline areas: account leadership, media strategy and media negotiations.

Applicants will be required to submit a resume, a "Dear Campbell Mithun, hire me because…" note, a "Dear new owners of Twinkies" statement and a URL address for their Twinkies recommendation.

Looking for 'Hot Local Cats' in Your Area? Sign Up for Adult Cat Finder

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 09:35 PM PST


For lonely paws looking for love (or something more casual), Adult Cat Finder is here to help

Cats seeking cats can peruse the online dating site to find frisky felines in their area.

"Are you having a hard time finding local cats in your area? Do you wish there was a way to connect instantly with one online, at any time? Now you can!" the website says. "With Adult Cat Finder, you're never more than one click away from chatting with a hot, local cat in your area!"

Users can even give the service a trial run; clicking on the green "Try it out" button produces a pop-up window where Fluffy can engage in some compelling conversation

News Corp. Education Unit Unveils Tablet to Rival iPad in Classrooms

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 09:03 PM PST


Apple recently touted its success in the classroom by revealing that it has sold more than 8 million iPads to educational institutions worldwide. But one company believes the iPad and similar tablets are far from ideal learning devices for K-12 classrooms, and thinks it can do better.

Amplify, the education division of News Corp. that focuses on creating digital products for classrooms, unveiled a 10-inch Android-powered tablet this week, specifically designed to help teachers and students be as productive as possible

"While there are other tablets out there, they are, for the most part, consumer goods recycled for an education market," Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify and the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, said during a press briefing Tuesday. "This one is different. It's a new tablet­-based learning platform designed specifically for the classroom and the school day."

Spike TV Launches MMA App That Lets Fans Score Fights

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 08:30 PM PST


A Spike TV app lets mixed martial arts fans bring a new level of interactivity to their fight-watching.

Called Bellator, the app for iPhone and iPad allows fans to track fight analytics during matches, as well as score rounds themselves in over 26 categories. While they don't affect actual fight outcomes, those fan scores are then featured in Spike's on-air broadcast and compared to announcers' and judges' takes

Bellator may not have the brand recognition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but it professes to be the largest tournament-based mixed martial arts organization in the world, and claims to reach fans in 107 countries. Stateside, Bellator airs live on Thursday nights on Spike

GetGoing Promises Big Flight Discounts if You Let it Pick the Destination

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 07:59 PM PST


The Launchpad is a series that introduces Mashable readers to compelling startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: GetGoing

One-Liner Pitch: GetGoing will help you find a big discount on your next flight if you let it choose the destination for you.

Why It's Taking Off: GetGoing provides the element of discovery and surprise for travelers and helps airlines sell seats, all at a lower cost

If you're having trouble deciding where to go on your next vacation, but know you want a big discount on the trip, GetGoing may be the right service for you

Skylar Diggins Is the Beautiful Hoops Star Twitter Wants to Marry

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 07:27 PM PST


Blessed with model looks and an All-America game, Skylar Diggins is pretty much the total package

The Notre Dame guard played her final college basketball home game on Monday, excelling in typically spectacular fashion by scoring 29 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while playing all 55 minutes of a triple-overtime victory. Look for her Lady Irish to make a deep March Madness run this tournament season

Diggins' college hoops career has also paralleled Twitter's rise as a media company. She joined the Notre Dame team in 2009, full of promise but as yet, unproven. Fast forward to 2013, and she's a bonafide superstar — both on the court and in social media

A Dryer-Sheet-Lovin' Dog Makes Laundry Delightful

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 06:59 PM PST


We can all relate — that scent of freshly laundered clothes just out of the dryer can drive you nuts. It often prompts us to lie inside laundry baskets inhaling the goodness of Tide and Downy

Maymo the dog here knows that feeling all too well. But instead of only smelling the dryer sheets, Maymo wants to be mistaken for the inside of a dryer and goes about rubbing the sheets all over his furry body

This adorable beagle has been the subject of several other curious fetishes including stealing cabbage, eating lemons and sniffing oranges. (To each his own?)

Marriott Introduces Tech-Friendly Hotels for Travelers

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 06:29 PM PST


Marriott announced its new Moxy Hotels brand on Tuesday, appealing to the "millennial traveler" with a technology-focused design

The budget-friendly hotels target techies, and are set to open exclusively in Europe next year. Rooms will feature built-in USB ports in each wall socket, and guests can check in via their phones. What's more, guests need not be concerned about overpriced, spotty Wi-Fi, as the chain is set to offer free connection throughout the hotel

“No design element was too small to test with these tech-savvy consumers," says Ramesh Jackson, brand vice-president of Moxy Hotels. "We learned that these confident explorers are wildly self-sufficient, but still want a chance to connect with each other in inviting social spaces in person or digitally. Based on the concept test results we believe Moxy Hotels will revolutionize the industry."

Coming Soon: The George Lucas Museum

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 06:06 PM PST


No doubt you've seen plenty of Star Wars-inspired art, from nesting dolls to R2-D2 heels. You may even have checked out the world's largest Star Wars museum (featuring the carbonite figurine above). But soon enough — in a few years, hopefully — it'll be time to see some of the art that inspired the Star Wars creator himself.

George Lucas, a 68 year-old retiree from Northern California who recently received a $2 billion pension, announced Tuesday he's going to spend a sizable chunk of that creating a brand new museum in San Francisco

The museum's focus: not so much Star Wars as the whole field of visual storytelling and cultural fantasy. It will feature original artwork from Lucas' own decades-old, thousands-strong collection, such as paintings by Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. It will include exhibits on animation and digital art. We'd place a bet on comic book art — of which Lucas has been a fan and collector throughout his life — also being put front and center.

The Nature of Ambition

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 06:01 PM PST


In order to get anywhere in life, you have to be at least a little ambitious — but achieving success is harder than you might think.

Grant Snider of Incidental Comics illustrates the ups and downs of following your dreams, and shows that no matter what happens, at least you're doing what you love

Snider's comics are available as prints through his poster shop.

The Nature of Ambition, Incidental Comics

Comic illustration by Grant Snider, Incidental Comics. Published with permission; all rights reserved.

Roku's New Media Player Offers Private Listening and Re-Designed UI

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 05:59 PM PST


Roku is out with a new addition to its line of streaming media players. The box itself has a familiar look, but users will immediately notice the user interface is completely redone.

Mashable got a sneak peek from Roku and we can tell you the new UI is a much simpler, easier way to discover content

Roku has restructured the UI into a grid form, with user index on the left, and channels on the right as you can see in the photo. This way you no longer have to go through the horizontal carousel, looking at one channel at a time.

Now, you'll see nine boxes at a time on your screen and a simple scroll with your remote lets you breeze through them and add what you like to your channel line-up. The channel categories, like sports, music and news, appear in rows on the left. A nice new feature for the forgetful among us is a check mark will appear on the boxes of what you currently have, so you don't spend time trying to add it again.

Carbon Fiber iPhone Case Mounts Magnetically to Your Bike or Wall

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 05:43 PM PST


Looking for a durable iPhone mounting system? A Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is designing wall and bike mounts made of carbon fiber that might provide a sleeker way for your iPhone to stay put while on the go or at home.

Volar Technologies is raising funds on Kickstarter to develop its aerospace-grade carbon fiber iPhone case, wall mount and bike mount. What the company is calling the "Stealth Wall Mount" can be attached to vertical surfaces, while the "Stealth Bike Mount" can attach with an adjustable strap on your cycle's handlebar.

The iPhone case can attach to any magnetically responsive surface, according to Volar. Note that you'll have to use adhesive strips or double-sided tape to stick the "Stealth" mount on the wall. But once it's secure, the setup might be nice for those moments when you use your iPhone as a bedside clock that's easy to glance over to at night or for a hands-free FaceTime chat.

Newborn Lamb Will Make You Giggle With Glee

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 05:09 PM PST


Prepare your smile muscles — here's your daily dose of paralyzing, awww-inducing cuteness

This little lamb is only a few hours old and watching it frolic with its parents is probably the most peaceful, lovely experience ewe will have this week

Pro tip: Sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while watching, and bookmark this story for a future time when you feel there is no good in the world

Click here to view this gallery

Video and image courtesy of YouTube, camelsandfriends

NBA Star Escapes Suspension for Viral 'Groin Altercation'

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 04:55 PM PST


During Sunday afternoon's NBA tilt between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC star Serge Ibaka took what appeared to be an intentional swipe at L.A. star Blake Griffin's nether regions

Griffin fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Ibaka stomped about the court like a WWE heel. The two teams looked ready to fight briefly. Order was restored, and the Thunder went on to win. Video of Ibaka's low blow (see above) has since been viewed more than 250,000 times on YouTube, and the incident has sparked widespread debate among sports fans online

That debate only intensified on Tuesday, when the NBA announced it would fine Ibaka $25,000, but not suspend him from any games. Many fans, players and writers squawked that Ibaka got off easy.

Rare Photos Capture Two Comets Together in Night Sky

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 04:21 PM PST


Two comets are putting on an amazing night sky show this month and some intrepid photographers have captured rare views of both celestial objects at the same time.

The photos of Comet Pan-STARRS and Comet Lemmon were taken by veteran space photographers in Chile and Australia in late February. At the time, both comets were visible from the Southern Hemisphere, though Comet Pan-STARRS is set to become visible from the Northern Hemisphere later this week.

One of the double-comet photos was taken by Yuri Beletsky, a Magellan Instrument Support Scientist at Las Campanas Observatory located in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Beletsky is an accomplished space photographer and used a Canon 5D Mark II camera with an exposure time of about 30 seconds on Feb. 28 to capture the rare sight of the two comets together.

Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez Dies

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 03:55 PM PST


Venezuelan President and controversial leader Hugo Chavez died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, according to an announcement by the Venezuelan government

Chavez, 58, was very active on TwitterHis official account has more than 4 million followers and he used to tweet regularly before the last few months of his life. His very last tweet, sent on Feb. 18 after a Twitter hiatus of almost three months, was a hopeful one:

"I'm still clinging to Christ and and I trust my doctors and nurses. Onward to victory!! We will live and we will win!!!" he tweeted in Spanish.

Sigo aferrado a Cristo y confiado en mis médicos y enfermeras. Hasta la victoria siempre!! Viviremos y venceremos!!!

— Hugo Chávez Frías (@chavezcandanga) February 18, 2013

Organize All Your Digital Documents in One Place With 'doo'

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 03:30 PM PST


Moving to a paperless world brings benefits: fewer piles to sort through, infrequent paper cuts and saving trees. But archiving your digital files to the cloud often means forgetting about them. Where did last year's tax forms go? In which folder did you save the phone bill?

doo, a free organizing service, allows users to access all their documents in one location, where they can be organized and tagged for easy use. The service received the "Innovate 4 Society" award on Tuesday at CeBIT, the world’s largest high-tech trade show and conference.

The app connects to all your document sources, whether it's your laptop's file folder, DropBox, email or all three. Intelligent tagging makes it simpler to describe and sort files, and its search feature allows you to find and download your documents to any device in seconds

This Is What a Kickstarter-Funded Concert Tour Looks Like

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 03:20 PM PST


It sounded like a classic success story in the making: A young girl with a big voice gets discovered by a major record label. But instead of coasting to a life fame and fortune like she may have expected, the label balked, and Alexz Johnson's music career needed a kickstart to finally get on the right track.

In days past, it would have been incredibly auspicious for a musician like Johnson to score two major record deals by age 21. The Canadian soul pop singer signed to Capitol Records at age 18 and switched to Sony's Epic Records at 21

But from Napster to Spotify, the digital revolution has upended the music industry. The theme for all involved since the turn of the century has been simple — adapt or fail.

Finally, the 'Harlem Shake' Video We've All Wanted to See

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 02:52 PM PST


Sick of the "Harlem Shake" meme? You'll love this video produced by the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves

Hate the Miami Heat? You'll love it even more

Here's the backstory: Just when you though the Shake would ride off quietly into the sunset, LeBron James and the Heat gave it new life with a pretty sweet version uploaded to YouTube last week. That video has become a hit, posting more than 31 million views in just five days online

The Heat played the Timberwolves in Minneapolis on Monday, and the T-Wolves digital team produced the video you see above for the occasion. We can't decide which is more awesome — the Heat's by-the-book rendition or this epic takedown. Pretty violent for a team whose star recently doled out some of the most beautiful in-game advice ever to grace a basketball court

Cowabunga! 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Game Coming This Summer

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 02:38 PM PST


A new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game, based on the current Nickelodeon cartoon, is hitting downloadable marketplaces this summer.

Fans of the pizza-eating reptile foursome with mutant powers will get to play as Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo or Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. The game is a four-player cooperative brawler and is being developed by Red Fly Studios and published by Activision.

The trailer's art shows off the game's realistic style that's different from any of the cartoon series, and some of the screenshots show the four Ninja Turtles with bizarrely human eyes

'Catfish' Creator Explains His Impromptu In-Flight 'Harlem Shake'

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 02:23 PM PST


Nev Schulman, creator of MTV's Catfish and star of the Catfish documentary from which the show spawned, recently found himself onboard a flight with Fordham University students who wanted to be part of the viral "Harlem Shake" phenomenon

He, the trendy pupils, and sketch comedy group Harvard Sailing Team joined forces to take part of the plane and put their in-flight spin on the video meme (watch below)

"Harlem Shake started as a small thing," he says, explaining what makes stuff go viral, in the above exclusive clip from the Shorty Awards. "But it was funny and it inspired a movement."

It most definitely inspired Schulman to break out some gnarly dance moves. Luckily for him and his companions, the Federal Aviation Administration didn't crack the whip on them like it did with the Colorado College students' in-flight "Harlem Shake."

Famous Works of Art Beautifully Recreated With Breakfast Food

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 02:08 PM PST


As children, most of us were taught the basic table etiquette: Don't play with your food. Luckily, photographer Ida Skivenes didn't listen to her parents.

The Norwegian native is better known on Instagram as @IdaFrosk, a food artist. We're not talking your average "foodie" either — Skivenes has literally recreated famous works of art, often using toast as her canvas and toppings as the medium.

Each week, more than 76,000 followers are delighted by various themes that include famous artists, travel or maybe just something whimsical, like a narwhal. Skivenes has even found a way to advertise friends and businesses with her breakfast art.

How Google+ Can Boost Your Business

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 02:00 PM PST


Google’s algorithm that informs how search results are ranked constantly evolves. However, one element is clearly important: how your business fares on Google+

So in case 250 million users, 150 million of which are active, isn’t enough reason to entice you to incorporate Google+ into your company’s social media marketing, ranking higher in search results is definitely a reason to get involved. That and the fact that Google adds more than 10 million new users each month

While Google hasn’t come out and said exactly how Google+ figures into its SEO equation, social media experts have a pretty good idea of how it all works. “Google is using the number of +1s, shares and general activity on Google+ as a ranking factor in the personal results of logged-in users,” said Mike Arnesen, senior SEO analyst at SwellPath. “This even extends out to the second degree, so friends of your friends will be affected when you +1 pages.”

Humans Yelling Like Goats Yelling Like Humans

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 01:44 PM PST


Listen, goats, you've had your fun with the yelling thing, but it's getting out of control. Go back to eating cans or kicking chickens or whatever you do when you're not yelling like a horror movie reject.

The Internet has gone meta with a YouTube video of humans yelling like goats yelling like humans. Follow that?

Click here to view this gallery

Image courtesy of Flickr, Let Teddy Win

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